Tuesday, 7 November 2017

November Previews Picks

A little later than usual as I have yet to send in my own order for the latest issue of Previews but here we go with a few picks from the hundreds of comic available from January 2018.

As you can see from the cover Plastic Man is back along with Metamorpho (one of my favourites from the sixties but on the downside they are teamed up with Mr Terrific who I last saw stranded in an alternative universe where Darkseid destroyed Earth Two. They are looking for Tom Strong apparently. Not sure about this one. May give it a try, depends on how much else I go for.

There's not much else new from DC this month but with The Doomsday clock and the build up to Action Comics 1,000th issue due later next year plenty to keep me entertained. Nothing grabs me from the other big publishers either, Marvel included. Just the second issue of Marvel 2-In-One with The Thing & The Human Torch continuing their search for Reed & Sue the two missing members of the Fantastic Four will end up in my subscription box in January.

So what do the smaller publishers have to offer?


First up  is Abstract Studio's with a 12 issue mini-series returning to the long running Strangers in Paradise that established Terry Moore in the comics world. Francine & Katchoo are living the dream when a former Parker girl appears on the scene. Worth a go I think!


The third issue of the new volume of The Charlton Arrow is also out this month. A joy for all Charlton fans and I urge you all to support this project. Great stuff!


The second issue of the relaunched Mighty Crusaders hits the stands from Archie/Dark Circle. I have high hopes for this one as a fan of the old MLJ/Archie adventure superheoes. There's also a collection of classic horror stories in Chilling Adventures in Sorcery in a 192 page black & white edition!


Then there' Battlestar Galactica vs.....


We meet the last Cylon in a crossover by scribe Peter David. Ok I'm game for this one!

Last but far from least (and for some reason in the magazines section is the latest issue of The Creeps, the revival of Warren's horror tradition. Order your copy now! Buy, buy, buy! I'm a fan can you tell!


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Eerie #111 (Warren/1980)

I managed to pick up two #111's at the same time. Spooky? No Eerie! Another great addition to my slowly growing collection of Warren black & white magazine sized comics.  I tend to go for the earlier issues as Eerie published serials later on down the line but this edition turned out to be quite readable in it's own right.

Blood on Black Satin  by Doug Monech with art by Paul Gulacy is the first of five stories. Set in a small village in Middlesex Simon Whatley gets caught up in a demonic plot. The villagers are in a frenzy and evil is a broad.

Next up is Moto Psycho Cop by Charlton regular Nicola Cuti with art by John Garcia & Rudy Nebres. Crime fought in a fictional world that uses descendants of old classic screen heroes.

Samurai Messenger follows from the pen of Larry Hama with art by Val Mayerik and is standard Eerie fare as is the last chapter of MacTavish a science fiction tale from Jim Stenstrum & Moreno  Casares.

The final feature is the on-going adventures of Haztur, a barbarian who seems to survive through luck rather than anything else. Certainly the man is no Conan or Slaine. However that said Beware of Glahb is a solid story.


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Vampirella #111 (Warren/1983)

One of Warren's big three was almost at the end of its long run when this issue came out. Just two issues to go, though no one knew at the time. Promoted as a "Giant collectors edition" this continues the adventures of everyone's favorite fanged female.

The two-part Vampirella and the Curse of the Macdaemons gives yet another twist to the story of the Loch Ness monster. Not one of Vampi's greatest adventures but passable for a cold evening in front of the fire with a minor chill rising in the background.

Not sure about the presence of an ocean liner in the Loch, inhabited by the living dead but Vampirella loses another lover to the depths of evil.

Science fiction tale The Time Eater follows with a tale that spans creation and recreation. Best story of the issue in my opinion, closely followed by Fog written by Charlton stalwart Nicola Cuti with art by DC giants Carmine Infantino & Dick Gordiano.

The other two stories The Munificent: Ali Addan and SonThe French Coagulation are standard Warren horror fare but worth the price of entry.

Now if only Dynamite would publish Vampirella in this format........


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Steve Ditko at 90

Steve Ditko veteran comic book artist reached the grand age of 90 today and is still working on comic books. A very private man who has refused interviews and prefers to be recognised through his work is one of three biggest names in comic books along with Stan Lee and the late Jack Kirby.

Recognised as the co-creator of Spider-man along with Stan Lee, Ditko worked on many memorable characters such as Doctor Strange, the Creeper, Hawk & Dove plus many horror and science fiction stories with a huge body of work for Charlton comics which is worth tracking down.

As a child Ditko's version of Spider-man was and now remains the definitive one never matched by anyone else. Heavily influenced by Ayn Rand Ditko caused controversy in the mid-sixties when his hero The Question left the villain to die in the sewer. Justice was harsh.

Here's some covers to help celebrate this amazing man's contributions to the industry.


  Mysterious Suspense

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Monster Hunters #11 (Charlton/1978)

One of Charlton Comics numerous horror/mystery titles, Monster Hunters started off life with "all new" stories only to end up as a repository for reprints as its run continued to an early demise. That said there is much to look out from Charlton as Steve Ditko contributed so much material over the years.

This issue was the penultimate edition with all-new material and contained three stories. The Monsters have Surrounded the House was a great mixture of horror and science gone wrong with a rather good twist. Following up was Montego Frame a story of love and vanity with a second tragic ending.

The last story Giant on the Beach was the weakest of the three but reminds the reader of simpler times when it easier to suspend disbelief. Silly.

Monster Hunters ran for 18 issues between 1975 and 1979.


Saturday, 28 October 2017

G.I. Combat #226 (DC/1981)

There was a time when comics published a much wider range of genres than today which is almost totally dominated by superheroes. By the eighties only DC was still putting out a variety of comics including horror, science fiction and war.

G.I. Combat was one of these and this edition represents part of a long run in the much loved "Dollar Comic" format that DC thought might be the future. This over-sized editions were a joy to read containing a lot more material for you hard earned pennies (cents if you are reading this in the USA).

There are no less than six stories in #226 including two from the Haunted Tank which had a ghostly guardian in the form of a Confederate General from the civil war! All the other features were "one-offs ranging from the ordinary to the tragic depending on your tastes.

Some of the action is quite unbelievable but fun to read for a certain generation.  GI Combat was published from 1956 (the first 43 issues by Quality Comics) until 1987 when DC finally pulled the plug after a grand run of 288 editions!


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Deadline #2 (1988)

Created by Brett Ewins & Steve Dillon two well known 2000AD creators this was a magazine I never came across or ignored during the years it was published but having recently decided to collect 2000AD comics and related material, Deadline finally came on my Radar.

To be fair I had heard of both Tank Girl and Johnny Nemo but until now hadn't read any of their strips, though it's not so long ago that I came across the Tank Girl movie on one of the Freeview channels which was, well quite dire....

I can't judge a strip entirely on the basis on just one short story so I'm prepared to give Tank Girl the benefit of the doubt for now. Johnny Nemo however was quite readable and wouldn't have been out of place in 2000AD.

Steve Dillon's Sharp was worth the price of entry as was the rather amusing short story One for the Road. As for the rest? Not that bothered.

To be frank this magazine smacks of eighties counter-culture which didn't attract me much then let alone now. It must have had some appeal since it managed to last seven years and seventy issues until 1995. Not a priority for me though.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Charlton Mystery Miscellany

There are many genres within the comics industry ranging from Superheroes which dominate the industry today to those seemingly lost to time like the mystery/horror story anthologies which used to fill the racks. One of the companies that churned these books out was the long gone Charlton company.

Charlton published a wide range of mystery titles over the years and much of the early material will be familiar to UK readers through reprints in the Alan Class range. However Charlton did continue to out out new material and one of their main attractions was the wonderful art of Steve Ditko.

Whether it be puppets or ghosts, demons or simply men (or women) of ill intent Ditko's art always hit the mark. With this in mind it's always worth looking out for Charlton horror comics.

Haunted #51 for example was all Ditko art and just picking up a handful at random can lead to more!


Back issues vary in price but a lot can be picked up quite cheaply and frankly most are a good read even if the production values are err..shall we say, a little lower than their mainstream rivals DC and Marvel.

Grab some old fashioned mystery if you can!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Scream & Misty Halloween Special (Rebellion)

The long awaited Scream & Misty Special finally hit the newsagents and comic shops across the UK today. And well worth buying it turned out to be for not just old fans of British comics but new ones too!  There are no less than six all-new stories to read with some recognisable old British comic characters updated for the 21st century but there's also a Misty orientated "variant cover".

Scream was a short lived horror comic that was published for just 15 issues between March and June 1984 which failed due to industrial action that took place affecting the publishing industry. It was merged with the second volume of the long running Eagle comic in September 1984.

Misty was a weekly "gothic" horror comic aimed at girls which ran for 101 issues between 1978 & 1980 before being merged with Tammy another title aimed at girls which had quite gritty and realistic stories whose writers included a certain Pat Mills of 2000AD fame.


The publishers of 2000AD recently managed to purchase the rights to a whole swathe of British comics from the seventies and have started publishing collections of stories under the Treasury of British Comics imprint. Dracula (Scream), Marney the Fox and The Leopard from Lime Street (Buster) plus Monster from Scream & Eagle are amongst the volumes already published with more on the way.

This special kicks off with one of the longer lasting strips from Scream which continued well into the later runs of Eagle after the Scream logo was dropped from the cover. The Thirteenth Floor features Max who controls a tower block and has a secret for any who dare threaten his building or the tenants who live there.

However the years have not been to Max as we find in this splendid little story.....

Of course Dracula has to return after some years in hiding....

Plus there's this chap from the FCBD copy of 2000AD in 2016. Something is coming and he meets some allies at the end who will be remembered by long term fans of Lion, Thunder, Buster and 2000AD.

Talking of Thunder where has Black Max been all these years since the First World War. He should be dead by now surely?

Then there's the return of two strips from Misty. This tale from The Sentinels will send a shiver down your spine mixing horror and politics in one stunning story.

Then there's this....

In my opinion the best comic published all year! (I'm a biased Brit!) Grab a copy before they all go!

Also out today! Latest issues the weekly 2000AD and this month's Judge Dredd Megazine. All titles available from WH Smiths and all good newsagents.